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Apple Planning New Prototype Retail Store in Palo Alto

The Daily News of Palo Alto, California reports that Apple has filed planning documents there for a new retail store that the company is calling "a new prototype for the company." While Apple's name has not been officially associated with the project in public filings and discussion, numerous sources have indicated that the company is the tenant involved in the project.

Planning documents indicate that the new store, which will be located less than two blocks from the company's existing Palo Alto retail store, will be about 10,700 square feet, over 50% larger than the current location. The new store's facade is planned to be completely transparent at street level, with large skylights allowing trees to grow inside the store, thus minimizing the transition from outside to inside and drawing customers in.

"The proposed store is a new prototype for the applicant," the developers wrote in a memo to the city. "Fully half the function of the store serves to provide education and service to business as well as customer patrons in addition to product sales. The store is a commons for the applicant's community to gather."

The memo adds that the transparent glass front "dissolves the boundary that traditional store facades create. By not breaking the horizontal ground plane of the sidewalk with opaque wall or landscape element, for example, the street is made part of the store's interior; the pedestrian is in the store before entering it."

At the opening of its new Upper West Side store in Manhattan late last year, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson indicated that the company was shifting its plans to include larger and more iconic stores, noting that many of their existing stores are too small to function properly with the traffic they receive.